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Mindy Lernihan

Fredericksburg, VA (15 years); Mekaco79@cs.com

1954 / Class of '92 / Kappa Light-Chain / Last Update: 12/99

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (Kappa Light Chain Deposition ) in March 1992, when I was 38 years old. I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and later lived in Huntsville, Alabama for about 13 years. Neither place was close to chemicals, just suburbs. My symptom was being overly tired. I went to my gynecologist for a check up and he proceeded to run some tests.

The test showed that I was going into Renal failure. I was sent to a Nephrologist and tested for various thing over a 2 week period. During that 2 weeks I went into complete renal failure and was hospitalized to be put on dialysis. When I was in the hospital I was tested for Myeloma and it came back positive. I did not have any bone involvement but I was left with no renal function. I was started on standard Myeloma chemo and had a severe allergic reaction which hospitalized me for 5 days. Because of the medications having an adverse affect on the already-failing kidneys, it took them a while to come up with an alternative. When they did, my cancer was gone within 6 months. I was still in renal failure and told the only chance of cure was a stem cell transplant. The dilemma was finding a place that would do me in renal failure. We called all over the country and finally found Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Florida.

I received my transplant in Sep. 1993. The chemo was Busulfin, VP 16 . Because of the Busi, I permanently lost my hair but that is a small price to pay. The month before the transplant I regained , miraculously, partial kidney function and was pulled off dialysis. My kidneys have improved to almost 50 % at this time (12/99) I am in my 8th year of remission and 7th post transplant. No sign of the myeloma has occurred and I continue to be tested yearly. I am told by all my doctors that I am a miracle. I attribute my life to God, Great doctors, great medicine, prayers and faith. I do council Myeloma patients for Moffitt Cancer.

August, 2001: I will be beginning my 10th Year of remission in October, 2001. I have been getting a lot of patients writing me lately and I so enjoy helping if I can. I have been responding to a lady in France for about 2 months. I have to admit, I get fulfillment by communicating with other patients that I could never get from anything else. I no longer counsel for Moffitt, I guess I have been "out" too long. Take care and thanks again for what you do. You are reaching many!!

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